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Blog route to voters

Politician Ajith P. Perera is an avid blogger. He considers himself to be the first blogger in Sri Lanka to run for public office when the western provincial council goes for election in late April.

world Updated: Mar 11, 2009 00:01 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Politician Ajith P. Perera is an avid blogger. He considers himself to be the first blogger in Sri Lanka to run for public office when the western provincial council goes for election in late April.

Lankan politicians are increasingly taking to the net, including blogs, to put forward their views on issues through personal websites, which are regularly updated and maintained by experts or by party members.

"I have been writing blogs for several months. This is one way in which I can reach out to people, especially the younger generation. It is a good platform to share views and opinion. Through my blog, I also attempt to convince my readers about my agenda", Perera said.

Not that he always gets a positive response on his blog. He recalls a caustic, anonymous response that he got after declaring he was the first blogger to run for office.

"Let's put it this way. 'A politician started blogging for the first time'. Don't make things up. You started blogging, because you wanted more publicity for your election campaign. Not that you started as a blogger and then decided to move to politics," a netizen wrote on Perera's blog. But Perera remained unfazed.

There are others like Perera who have turned to the net to reach out to voters.

Milinda Moragoda, who is the current tourism minister, gives an insight into his life and achievements on his personal
website.

Tissa Attanayake, who is a leader of the main but currently beleaguered opposition, the United National Party, gives a glimpse into the party's policies on his web site. (It also carries a photograph of him hugging Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi during one of his tours of the state).

Several other politicians have their profile on social networking sites, especially on Facebook. The list includes former President Chandrika Kumaratunge, Ranil Wickramasinghe and defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

It is difficult to ascertain the authenticity of the profiles because mischievous elements on the web could put together accessible material and set up proxy profile of the celebrities.